Saturday, June 19

Freed Nigeria Schoolboys Meet President Muhammadu Buhari

DAKAR, Senegal — Hundreds of boys kidnapped last week from their boarding school in northwest Nigeria were freed on Thursday night after six days in captivity. But they had some public relations to do for the government before they could go home.

Cameras rolled on Friday as they were led barefoot by soldiers carrying rifles and wearing balaclavas through the manicured grounds of the governor’s house in Katsina, 80 miles south of Kankara, the town where they had been studying.

Looking dazed, and still wearing their dusty clothes, they were packed into a conference room, some crouching on the floor, others dwarfed by big leather chairs. Television reporters thrust microphones at them.

Then they were given new clothes to change into and taken to meet Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari.

But Abdulkadir Musbau, whose 12-year-old son, Abdullahi, was among the children taken, picked up the phone. He had not been allowed to see his son, he said. That had to wait until the president was finished talking to them, and until medical checks had been done. But he had been given a few minutes with Abdullahi on the phone.

“I was so happy when I spoke to him,” Mr. Musbau said. “It’s a huge relief for me.”

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